Purpose - This research aimed to investigate the process of lean manufacturing implementation in automotive industry in China in order to identify the critical success factors.Design/methodology/approach - A review of relevant literature is used to identify potential critical success factors for lean manufacturing implementations. The research had targeted lean-manufacturing management, practitioners, process users, and consultants working in automotive industry in China. Data were collected with an electronic survey which included 20 close ended questions, each measured by using five-point scale, Out of total 200 questionnaire distributed, 80 useable responses were received resulting in 40 % response rate. A judgmental sampling technique had been selected. Both descriptive and inferential statistics had been used to analyze this data.Findings - Our findings indicated that the belief among the respondents that management engagement, communication, training, monitoring progress among others are critical success factors for lean manufacturing implementation in automotive industry in China. Also, the findings of the survey confirm that there is no significant difference among different experience levels, functions, and automotive sectors in perceiving and evaluating the critical success factors of lean manufacturing implementation in automotive industry in China.Research limitations - The sample was limited to automotive industry in China and the results cannot be generalized too widely. However, this can be overcome by conducting other studies in different countries or industries.Practical implications - Management and consultants working in automotive industry in China should focus on management commitment, communication, monitoring progress, and training to ensure successful implementation.Originality/value - This research identified the critical success factors lean manufacturing implementation in automotive industry in China.